In 2001, Goldman Sachs used the acronym BRICS in one of their reports to denote the four emerging and fast growing economies of the world i.e. Brazil, Russia, India and China. In 2010, South Africa has been added to this list and the new acronym reads as BRICS.
The first summit of BRICS was conducted during June 2009 in Russia’s fourth largest city, Yekaterinburg. The focus was spread on global economy, reformation of financial institutions and the areas where BRICS can play decisive role.
BRICS Forum was created to strengthen the cultural cooperation between the member countries alongside its agenda to build rapport in political and economical domains.
With a total population of 295 billion with per capita ranging from $3,900 up to $17,700, BRICS is a thriving market within its network.
As tourism is one of the main resources for any country that features historical, mythological and natural tourist spots, it is no wonder to say that all the BRICS countries are the best tourist destinations in the world.
Tourism In BRICS Countries:
WTTC (World Tourism & Travel Council) has recognized Brazil as the leader in Latin America from tourism perspective. It is estimated that tourism is one of the chief contributors to the overall GDP of Brazil. Estimations say that tourism constitutes 8.6% of Brazil’s GDP. Currently 7.7 million people are either directly employed or affiliated to the tourism industry. And this again constitutes to the 8% of overall jobs occupied.
Brazil being the host for 2014 FIFA Cup and also to the Olympic Games in 2016, it is going to be the most crowded country in terms of foreign visitors during these mega events of human history.
In Russia, tourism is such a driving factor of an economy that it surpasses automobile industry in contributing to the GDP and equivalent to the financial sector in providing employment. Estimations by economists are putting the tourism sector ahead of other sectors in sustaining the annual growth. It is expected that tourism in Russia can grow by 4% year-on-year.
Russia is going to play the role of host for series of political and sports events. The 5th T20 meeting of tourism ministers across the globe is scheduled to be held and 2014 Winter Olympics are to be played in Russia. The mega event i.e. FIFA World Cup will be held in 2018 i.e. after Brazil.
One of the powerful countries of South East, India is one of the most favored destinations of the world. Its rich and vibrant history, the linguistic and cultural diversity with exotic locations attract the people from almost all the countries in the world. India, being sub-continent, offers all sorts of adventures.
The annual report of 2011-12 released by Ministry of Tourism says that nearly 6.29 million visitors have visited India during 2011-12 with a growth rate of 8.9% and revenue of USD 16.60 billion was garnered for the same period.
Being the highly populated country in the world and also the land that has been in history records for more than two millennia, China is one of the thriving economies in terms of tourism and travel. Though China opened doors for the foreign visitors only in 1976, the rapid development of tourism, especially the inbound traffic from other countries shows the strength of this sector. China hosted the Olympic Games in 2008 and since then became a must-visit country.
As per the report released by UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), in 2011 alone China’s tourism sector generated revenue worth more than forty billion US dollars. Same report has predicted that China would become the most visited country by 2020.
A land filled with varieties of flora and fauna, South Africa is famous for eco-tourism. African Safari is quite famous with tourists who love adventure tourism. After getting rid of the gloomy days of international ban during apartheid, South Africa’s tourism has increased by leaps and bounds. Today it is one of the prominent contributors of country’s GDP.
Recent BRICS Summit And Its Contribution To Tourism
The success of recently concluded BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa has paved the way for improving the cultural exchange between the member countries through tourism. Market observers of the developments happening in BRICS group have opined that though there is a remarkable improvement in tourism in the last year; countries like South Africa are still got untapped potentiality in tourism development.
In response to this critical observation, Government of South Africa has announced in the summit that they are keen in opening exclusive offices in other member countries to promote tourism in South Africa. As a stepping stone towards this goal, SA is all set to open an office in Brazil in couple months from now. The cumulative arrivals of tourists from BRICS to South Africa are now equals to the visitors from the UK which has topped the tourism charts since many decades.
What Makes BRICS Stronger In Tourism Development
BRICS member countries account for 40% of the global population. Also, the joint landmass of member countries of BRICS is estimated to be 25% of the world’s total landmass. These are incredible numbers by all scales measurements and the driving factors for tourism development.
The rich cultural diversity amongst the member countries are so vivid and fabulous that the entire world populace loves to experience this diversity. Geographical peculiarities, unique flora and fauna are the added glitters to these ever charming tourism destinations.
How BRICS Can Improve Tourism
The aim of BRICS group is to create a tourism universe within the member countries and make this universe as the center of attraction for global tourists.
BRICS countries have understood that their growing middle class are the potential target audience who can spearhead the tourism development. Group believes that by promoting the tourism within the member countries, the attention of tourists from other countries can be grabbed effortlessly.
Global statistics are confirming that the BRICS’ dream is quite achievable. Some of the reports are predicting that the tourism development in growing economies could outpace the already advanced countries. Asia, Africa and Latin Americas would be leading the pack and thus the BRICS countries who are the leaders in their regions can surge ahead in building a formidable tourism alliance.
South Africa, the most untapped tourism resource amongst BRICS countries, has witnessed a sharp rise in tourists from fellow member countries. China leads the table by sending more tourists to SA followed by India and Brazil. The overall jump in the tourists from BRICS countries has jumped to 39% from 21% of previous years.
The above indicators substantiate the fact that the tourism amongst BRICS members is on constant growth pattern with unhampered spirits of sustaining the growth rate from year to year.
Measures Initiated By Member Countries
Tourism is a delicate subject and must be handled with care. Any political uncertainty or civil or military turmoil can put off the business instantly. Heads of the states of BRICS group have understood this critical aspect and have pledged to create a safe environment for the tourists.
Also, the bureaucracy and lengthy paper work also can turn away the prospective visitors and hence the BRICS countries have openly spoke about liberalization of visas by scrapping the issue of individual visas for the citizens of the member countries. Many discussions were held in the recent summit to discuss the practicality of this idea. If this can be implemented, it can open the flood gates of constant tourism between the member countries. ‘One-Group-One-Visa’ kind of approach can cement the solidarity amongst the citizens of member states. Majority of the ordinary passport holders can gain a lot from this simplified visa process.
At present, any visitor from South Africa can get Indian visa within 4-5 working days and at no cost but the Indians have to pay a processing fee to South Africa to get visa and have to wait for 10-12 working days. Countries are feared about the miscreants who can take undue advantage of such privileges. But the Durban Summit has discussed about these practical hurdles and is willing to find out better ways that can improve the systems. This comes as a good sign and ensures the brighter future for tourism development in BRICS block.